Sunday, November 12, 2017

Who else doing map stories like this?

Through my participation in the weekly ChiHackNight meetings that take place at Chicago's Merchandise Mart every Tuesday evening I've met a lot of people doing interesting things with technology.  One is Steven Vance who heads the ChicagoCityscape site which focuses on making Chicago neighborhood property, construction and development data accessible to everyone.

Steve posted a series of Tweets today, using maps to focus on four Chicago schools.
here's another
here's another
and here's the fourth
This interests me because I've been using maps of Chicago neighborhoods since 1994 to focus attention on places where non-school tutor/mentor programs are most needed, based on poverty, poorly performing schools, etc.. My goal is to draw support to any non-school tutor and/or mentor programs that may be in the neighborhoods I point to, or to inspire local leaders, business, philanthropy, etc.  to create new programs where more are needed. 

Below is one of the map stories the Tutor/Mentor Connection created in the 1990s. 


Browse articles on this blog written between 2008 and 2011 and you'll find many more stories like this, created when we had funds to hire a part time GIS specialist.  Browse stories on the Tutor/Mentor blog, written since 2008, and you'll see maps made using an interactive program locator created in 2008-09.  

Steve focuses on a different issue than I do, and uses more updated mapping technologies, and demonstrates how maps can be used to focus on neighborhoods and draw attention to information people can use to better understand problems and opportunities in Chicago. I encourage you to browse his web site to see the many map views he has created.

I've not had help updating my maps, or telling map stories, since 2011, so I write articles like this with the goal of locating others already doing map stories, so I can point to their examples, encourage more people to use maps in planning support for social sector organizations, and so I can attract others to help me with the type of stories I focus on.

Interested?  Let's connect. I'm on Twitter at @tutormentorteamhttp://www.twitter.com/tutormentorteam

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mapping Philanthropy - Where's the Analysis?

BMA Funders Map
The map at the right is from the Black Male Achievement web site and shows grant making focused on men and boys of color, and Black men and boys in specific.  It's a great resource and I hope more donors and recipients find ways to show this type of information.

I wrote about this in 2016  and have written other articles on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor blog, focused on philanthropy and funding of non-school tutor, mentor and learning organizations that serve youth in high poverty areas.

The screen shot that I posted above shows the level of information available on this site. In this case the number of grant makers and name and number of Illinois organizations who received grants in 2015.

Since I focus on organizations who provide long-term, muti-year support, reaching kids when they might be in elementary or middle school, then staying connected through high school, it's important that funding be repeated to these organizations on an on-going basis, focusing on building strong organizations, not on specific projects or outcomes.

I also focus on high poverty areas where this long-term support is most needed and I use map overlays to show where poverty is concentrated.

Thus, I'd like to find stories showing how people are studying the BMA data, to show if funding is reaching enough of the programs who are doing work in this sector, and continuing from year-to-year.  That might require that more people plot funding on sites with demographic overlays.  I don't think I see this on the Foundation Center maps.

For instance, in 2015, 78 grants totaling $2.9 million were made in Illinois, to nine (9) Chicago area organizations. 63 of these grants went to Chicago Jesuit Academy (49) and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (14), totaling $2.165 million.  If you look at my list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs you'll find many in high poverty areas serving minority youth. 

This should prompt stories saying "We need more comprehensive funding data!" and/or "We need funding to reach more programs."   I don't know if those stories are being written.

Distressed Communities index
I've written some stories focusing on distressed communities, with maps showing where they are most concentrated. Large numbers of minority youth live in many of these areas, so the foundation giving maps should show a broader distribution of grants than what I see for 2015. 

This broader distribution needs to be happening every year if we want good programs to be continuously operating in more of the places where they are needed.

Who's writing about this?

If you are doing this type of analysis, using BMA Funders data, or some other philanthropy-tracking resource, please share links to your stories so people reading this article can expand their understanding by reading what you are also writing. 


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mapping Opioid/Overdose crisis and service providers

Brookings Institute map
Yesterday I posted an article asking that someone map locations of the Digital Divide and showed a concept map outlining problems schools are facing.

 Today I found this article, with a title of "A Nation in Overdose Peril:  Pinpointing the Most Impacted Communities and the local gaps in care"

 The article shows where this crisis is most severe, where it is growing and also talks about lack of prevention and treatment non-profits in many of the areas that have the greatest need. If I had ever had a research institute to help me do the work I've been doing to identify where youth tutor/mentor programs are most needed, and where existing programs exist, my stories might have looked very much like this one.

Thus, I posted a comment on Facebook with the goal that some folks working with public health issues might be interested in what I've been doing for the past 23 years.

I decided to post that comment here, with more detail. 

Based on this article I have two comments/requests. First, have you produced a concept map/visualization showing the different treatments and prevention services that are available in some communities but not in others?

This link points to the cMap below,  showing supports kids in poverty need to move from first grade to a job. http://tinyurl.com/TMI-K-CareerMentoring



My map starts at the left, pointing to pre-school, then moves from elementary school, to middle school, high school, college/vocational school, then jobs and careers. That's a 20-30 year journey for every youth. Those living in high poverty have less support, thus non-school volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs are a valuable resource.

Middle School
At each age level I show a range of supports that all kids need, but which are missing in many areas of high poverty.

I feel that a similar map could show a time line of first exposure to potential drug abuse and the causes of addiction, to a later stage where a person is heavily addicted and needed specialized treatments. At the right end of the time like could be the post addition recovery stages, showing supports still needed.

At each stage having the appropriate supports and treatment could make a huge difference.

The information the Brookings Institute is collecting to produce this article could be organized into a web library sorted by the categories on the concept map, making these resources available to every community in the country/world.

The second question asked if the Brookings Institute has plotted its data about service providers on a map, as an overlay to the maps showing distribution of the problem? I have been plotting locations of non-school tutor/mentor programs on maps since 1994. The map at the right is created using a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator pilot which was built in 2008.

The maps force leaders to think of all the places where help is needed. Without mapping resource providers you could fill a stadium with people doing this work and still not be reaching most places where help is needed.

With this information people concerned with the problem could begin a marketing campaign intended to help existing providers continue to provide services while helping others build new service distribution points, borrowing from what is working in other places. If someone is doing this please share the links.

Using the information you collect in a campaign intended to draw resources to the areas where extra help is needed is the 4-part strategy the Tutor/Mentor Connection developed in 1994 and has been using since then (since 2011 as part of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC).  Just showing where the program is located, and talking about some causes is only part of what needs to be happening.

If some is interested in talking more about what I've just suggested,I'll post this on my blog and look forward to connecting.

Update: 10-27-17- Here's a link to a Jan 2016 New York Times story with maps showing drug overdose deaths each year since 1999.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mapping Digital Learning Access - invitation

Earlier this week I watched a one hour documentary showing the Digital Divide in America, and identifying three key challenges that must be overcome.

I created this concept map to visualize that discussion and add some other issues that were not included in the video.

I'm looking for information that can make this cMap more useful.

First, if you know of articles that provide more information related to hardware, connectivity, or teacher training, I'd like to add links to such articles in the three nodes on the map that focus on those issues.   If you know of anyone writing about the challenges of keeping this stuff updated as kids go through school - 12  years - I'd like to point to such articles.

Second, I am looking for maps that show every school in the US, and provide some sort of indicator that shows what level of digital access that school offers.  Ideally such maps would have overlays showing poverty demographics and legislative districts, such as I've tried to provide in the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator platform.

A few weeks ago I pointed to the OpenStreet Map Project, in which people from around the world can help upgrade the quality of information for places throughout the world.  It seems to me that a group of students and/or volunteers could create a base map, and that schools from around the country could add their own information with pre-set icons that would show levels of readiness (yellow, red, blue, green, etc?) based on the information in the Digital Divide video.

Maybe someone is already doing all of this?  If so, just share a link and I can point to it.

This information needs to be available on a school by school level or in districts with multiple schools crossing income and wealth divides, the need of poor schools might be overlooked.  Including legislative overlays would build in direct accountability to the people who represent those districts.

We can't help kids get through school and into jobs and adult lives free of poverty if we can't give them a more equal playing field.

11-10-17 update - Here's an article titled "From good intentions to real outcomes: Equity by design in Learning Technologies", which relates to this topic.  It has been set up on Hypothes.is so readers can annotate and share ideas in the margins.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Unique Geography Teaching & Learning Resource

I've been following a Twitter chat using the hashtag #worldgeochat and this week I saw this graphic introducing a web site titled The Human Imprint.

I took a look at the site and found it to be a treasure of information and ideas.  It was created by a geography teacher and one section is an Illustrated Textbook for teaching geography and spatial-based history, current events, environmental topics and more.

However, another section is a web library, organized in nine categories, with topics such as population and migration, urbanization, industry and economic geography, political configurations, etc.  In each section are sub-sections, which you can find using the drop-down menu. 

I've been building a web library for more than 20 years and I have two categories with links to geography and mapping resources.  The graphic at the right can be found in this presentation, describing the information library I've been building and showing my goal of finding others who are experts in specific topics. It looks like The Human Imprint is providing some of this expertise.

I encourage you to book mark the site as I did, and visit regularly.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Updating CPS Tiers Map - How It Was Done

Many well-intentioned civic tech volunteers are creating apps and web sites, but seldom do the work to update them regularly.  Thus, it was great to find a set of Tweets and web links posted by Derek Elder, of ChiHackNight, showing how he updated a map platform showing Chicago Public School Tiers. You can read Derek's article here.

The CPS School Tiers map can be found here.

The same tier info is also used on the CPS School Locator.

I think the information Derek is sharing could be applied by civic tech volunteers in other cities and working on other projects.

I'd love to find some volunteers who would help update, and/or rebuild, the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which was built for me by a team from India in 2008. I've not been able to update the site since 2010 and have not been able to update the tutor/mentor program information on the site since 2013.

The Program Locator is part of a project started in 1993, intended to identify all non-school, volunteer-based tutor and mentor programs in the Chicago region and share that information in on-going public awareness activities intended to draw resources and ideas to existing programs,  help parents, volunteers and donors find programs, and help people see where more programs are needed.

Initially the list of programs was published in a printed directory that was mailed to libraries, businesses, foundations, and existing programs each year and shared at a May and November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference.

In 1998 we began putting the list of programs on line, pointing to program web sites, which we felt would have much more updated information than what we could provide in a directory. It could also be found by more people.

In 2004 we launched a ProgramLocator search portal, which you can see at the right, which enabled people to search for programs by age group, type of program and zip code or community area. The results would show on a Google map.  A special feature made it easier for Tutor/Mentor Connection staff to update program data, and allowed programs to enter and  update their own data.

Unfortunately, this feature has not worked since 2013 and even in the late 2000s we had too few dollars to train programs to use this effectively.

This is one of many graphics created over the past 20 years to emphasize our intent of connecting donors and volunteers directly to individual tutor/mentor programs, using the Program Locator, and eliminating us or anyone else as the gate-keeper or middle-man.

Our goal was to create PDF essays, like this Shoppers Guide, to educate programs and resource providers, so they could make informed decisions on which programs to support.  In some cases, there are almost no choices in some zip codes, so you need to help which ever programs are there become great at what they do. That take time and perseverance.

This page contains articles that show ways to use the Program Locator.

I've not found many using maps this way, to draw needed support to organizations who are already doing needed work in different parts of a city.  Yet, I believe what I'm piloting can, and should, be applied in cities throughout the world.

Read more stories about my use of maps, on this blog, and on the Tutor/Mentor blog. See history of my use of maps, and current status, on this wiki page.

So, as I look at what Derek and others are doing with GIS technology, I hope to find people with similar talent, or some dollars, who will help me upgrade what I've been doing for almost 24 years.